The Weezer Play/Opera
So before I confuse you by going straight into it, I want to try to give an explanation of what I am going to be talking about. Well, as we've all probably noticed the steady decline of weezer's music around the Red Album, and certainly after; now that was the big decline. I think we all noticed the smaller decline of weezer's music around when the Green Album came out. It just was missing something that Pinkerton and Blue had.
Now, I know this will probably be criticized as a conspiracy theory, but I believe that there is reason for the musical decline, other than Rivers’ supposed depression, and horrible criticisms. First of all, before I get ahead of myself, I've loved all the music up to, and including, the Red Album, not as much as the music from Pinkerton or Blue, but I still loved pretty much all of it. But I think that there is a hidden story within Weezer, other than the nerdy gimmick, and all of that. You can obviously tell as Weezer progressed that they changed and that the style changed. I believe it is all part of a story that Rivers was trying to tell through his musical alterations, and his style changes.
Now once again, before I get ahead of myself, I'd like to point out the style changes. Weezer started out as a 90s alt. rock band, with no care in the world about what people thought of them, until they started blowing up, through the means of music videos and college radio. Rivers would question his songwriting ability, and whether it were the music videos that made them popular (good). So he started to go into this really depressed fame. Around that time he was working on SFTBH, and pretty much completely got rid of the idea, besides for a few songs that made it onto Pinkerton. I believe Pinkerton was the beginning of this story that Rivers wanted to tell through the weezer project. He includes The Blue Album, although it was not intended to be part of the story when he wrote Blue. He pretty much makes his life an opera. I believe that's why he started with Pinkerton, he shows that that is what he's doing by using Madama Butterfly. He played a character, that was hit by fame in the worst way, which is himself... but that's what he's doing, he's making his life a story. So, as Pinkerton resolves, it became a commercial failure, but there was a cult following that was steadily growing. I'm not saying that Rivers intended the flop, but he had to know somewhere in his mind that Pinkerton couldn't be too successful of a commercial album, after all, Rivers is a very smart guy, and he knows a lot about music. Pinkerton is raw, mid-fi, with hooks that take a while to settle in your heart, but once they do, they are the strongest, because they came from his heart.
Then at the time, he went back to College, and he was studying music and all sorts. Notably, he studied shakespeare as; now that is something I will get to later on. You all probably know where I am going with this though. At the end of his college years, Weezer got back together and made Green. At this time they were a broken band. Rivers wanted to incorporate this by writing, pretty much souless songs, that were just all pop hooks. He wanted to show his character was broken, and that he wanted to hide behind these pop-rock songs that didnt touch any emotion.
Then Green is followed by maladroit. Rivers starts wearing suits and starts talking cool. I think the order of the songs on maladroit really had an impact on the story. The first half of the album, is much like green, emotionless, and full of pop energy that Rivers could hide behind. Then as you go down the album, you hear songs like Slob (where he must be criticizing his life), the emotion-filled Slave, the love song Fall Together, and finally a song that I feel should have been on Pinkerton, called "December". December is a really touching song, and in every way reflects the feelings of those of Pinkerton. That's where Rivers is allowing people once again to see a "weakness" in himself, or his character. I dont know about you, but when I first heard that song, it really brought me back. December is also a perfect segue into Make Believe.
I don't believe for one second that Make Believe was supposed to be Weezer's last album. The shakespeare quote in the liner notes of the album, was not only a trick, but Rivers is saying that that was the last time that he'd really show any sort of emotion or weakness, and that that was pretty much the last act in his opera. Make Believe, in a lot of ways, is like Pinkerton. It wasn't exactly a commercial failure, because it had Beverly Hills, but it definitely had really mixed reviews, with some people thinking it was horrible. I think, like Pinkerton, people will start to notice how good the album actually is.
Referring to where I mentioned that Make Believe was the last time Rivers would show weakness, leads me to Red. Before I started having this realization, I couldn’t understand why Weezer would decide to leave off the 3 best songs from the album, Miss Sweeney, Pig, and Spider. Now I’m not going to say Miss Sweeney was full of emotion, although it totally did show signs of true emotion, more than any track on Red, with the exception of The Angel and The One (which I’ll get to). Even Heart Songs doesn’t show much emotion, it’s more of just a story of his career, it’s not his feelings at all. So, getting to those 3 songs-- they had to be left off the album because Rivers wanted the Weezer image to become detached from emotion. He wanted Make Believe to be the last sign of true emotion. So he left those great songs off the album, but yet included them in bonuses, just so he could still somewhat pour his heart out to the world, but yet have it be deemed as unofficial.
Now getting to The Angel and The One. Doesn’t this song kind of strike a chord with you? Epic closing song, with great gutiar hooks, perfect melodies and a simple message? This song, in every way, is Rivers trying to mold Only in Dreams into something new. It’s basically Rivers’ curtain call. He didn’t want to show that emotion that he left off with on Pinkerton. If he wanted to do that, all of those bonus songs would be on the album, and Spider, much like Butterfly, would have closed the album. You know the thought definitely crossed his mind though, because he wrote it. Instead of making the come back for a surprise scene, he gave the crowd an encore. Everything following, is just Rivers, the character, playing after the play, which you can definitely tell from Raditude. The players in Weezer’s show have become detached from the opera. This can especially be seen from the live performances, if you couldn’t tell from the music itself.
This may sound completely crazy to you, but just think about it for a while before you start hating on me.